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How Your Lymphatic System Affects Your Skin

Learn how the lymphatic system impacts the appearance of your skin and discover the connection between skin health and lymphatic function and what you can do to improve it.

How Your Lymphatic System Affects Your Skin

What is your lymphatic system?

Your lymphatic system is a component of your circulatory, immune, and metabolic systems. It plays a major role in your immune function and the drainage of excess cellular fluid in your body. It is composed of a series of lymphatic vessels, cells, and fluids.



What does your lymphatic system do?

There are three things that your lymphatic system does: it keeps your cellular fluids in balance, it enhances your immune system, and it helps with the absorption of dietary fats. It does this by moving lymphatic fluid (lymph) through a network of vessels, filtering it, and then returning it to your bloodstream, where it is eliminated. Your lymphatic system spans nearly every organ and system of your body.



How does your lymphatic system work?

The process starts in your lymphatic capillaries, which are located throughout the space between your tissues. These lymph capillaries are wider than your blood capillaries and collect fluid when pressure is exerted on them. From there, this fluid enters the lymphatic vessels, which have one-way valves that prevent backflow.

Pressure from muscle contraction and respiratory movement (deep breathing) moves the lymph along the vessels until it reaches the lymph nodes. Here, lymph is filtered of bacteria, proteins, and cellular debris and is then dispersed into your bloodstream.



Why is lymphatic flow unique?

Unlike your blood, which is pumped entirely by your heart, lymph relies on external force to move through your body. Intrinsically, about 2/3 of your lymph will flow while at rest, but the remaining 1/3 needs muscle movement to get it moving. This can come from exercise, bouncing up and down, or massage movements.



How does your lymphatic system affect your skin?

Your lymphatic system keeps you healthy and fights infections in your body. Since it is responsible for removing excess fluid, bacteria, and cellular debris from your body, if it is not functioning properly, lymph will build up in your tissues, causing swelling and stagnation. Your lymphatic system is directly linked to your skin, so any issues tend to appear as a host of skin conditions.



Signs of a sluggish lymphatic system.

Signs of a sluggish lymphatic system include swelling and puffiness. On the face, this tends to appear around the eyes and jawline/under the chin area. Acne, skin congestion, eczema, and dull skin are all signs of stagnant lymph. Anywhere you experience inflammation, lymphatic movement will be reduced.



What can you do to improve lymph drainage?

Luckily, it can be quite simple to get lymph flowing optimally. Exercise, particularly anything with some bouncing movement, can really help get things moving. Another great way to clear stagnant lymph, particularly in the face, is through light massage, either with your hands or with a Gua Sha tool.



Lymphatic massage for your face.

Doing a bit of lymphatic drainage massage daily goes a long way toward the health and appearance of your skin. I recommend spending 5 minutes daily, ideally first thing in the morning, performing massage moves. This will sculpt your face, help clear away acne and irritation, and generally contribute to a healthy, glowing complexion.

The two most important things to know when performing this kind of massage (whether with your hands or a Gua Sha tool) are to use an extremely light touch and to always move in the direction that your lymph drains. Your lymph vessels are very delicate; if you use too much pressure when massaging them, the fluid will not drain properly, and if you massage against the lymph flow, it will cause the fluid to back up.



How to perform lymphatic massage for your face.

The diagram below illustrates the general direction in which lymph flows through your face. When I perform lymphatic massage in my facials, I typically spend about a minute on each zone. You can use your fingertips, but I find a Gua Sha tool to be more effective. If you use a tool, it is important to hold it at a 15-degree angle to your skin (so the flat side touches most of your skin).

Make sure, before you start, to apply a bit of face oil for some slip and glide. (I love our FACE OIL for this!) You can do this every day in the morning or evening or before going out. Below are some of my favorite moves.

  • I always start at the eyes and lightly glide inward and down the side of the nose.
  • Glide outwards along the jawline, starting at the chin and ending by the ear.
  • Glide down the sides of the face in front of the ears.
  • Glide down the sides of the neck.
  • Glide down the back of the neck.
  • Glide outwards just under the collarbone from the center of the chest to the underarm.



Flora Mirabilis Beauty Tool for lymphatic massage

I have used Gua Sha tools to perform lymphatic drainage in my facials for years, and over the years, I have dropped and broken countless stones. That’s why I decided to create our very own. Our Beauty Tool is made of medical-grade stainless steel, which is breakproof and hygienic. I designed it to have a concave and convex side to fit the contours of the face, with blunt, pointed tips for precision work around the eye area. It is heavyweight, feels sturdy in your hand, and exerts the perfect amount of pressure to sculpt and contour your face. Click here to shop now!






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